Recently, one shopper stumbled upon one such great freezer find at a local Trader Joe’s, and they could not resist sharing the news with their followers on Instagram. User @traderjoesfoodreviews made a post alerting followers to the Chicken & Chimichurri Empanadas, rating the new item an 8.5 out of 10. “I love an amazing empanada, so I was so excited to see these brand-new chicken and chimichurri empanadas in the frozen section! They were surprisingly extremely flavorful,” the caption stated.
Throughout the Caribbean and stretching down the adjacent coasts, the tropical landscape provides an alternative to either corn or wheat doughs: starchy vegetables. In Colombia, yuca (cassava) “dough” (it’s simply boiled and mashed) can be seen alongside the corn flour versions—with similar fillings, preparation, and accompaniments. Yuca empanadas are called catibias in the Dominican Republic; Dominican chef Manu Alfau serves them at his Seattle restaurant Manu’s Bodega, praising the crispiness they get from the high starch content and deep-frying. The unique texture isn’t easy to achieve, though, he says, pointing out that these aren’t something that people make at home, because of the labor-intensive process of grinding and kneading the starchy root into a dough.The empanada scene doesn’t change much from Buenos Aires as you head north to Uruguay, but moving west, Chilean empanadas have slight regional variations. Along the coast you’ll find seafood (mussels, the treasured pink razor clams, or shrimp) cooked into empanadas—with none of the Italian concern of mixing seafood and cheese. The most common meat version, called pino, isn’t far from what you’d find in Argentina. The beef, egg, and olive combination is a bit juicier than the Argentine version, thanks to a higher ratio of onions cooked into the mix, and sweeter, from the addition of raisins. The dough, instead of being artfully pinched, is usually folded over, into a square, so it looks a bit like a mailing envelope.”Once it landed on the shores of Latin America, the empanada shrank to its current handheld size and adapted to local climates, evolving with every incoming colonizer.”
I cooked our empanadas in our air fryer and served them alongside some tacos and nachos. They are flavorful, with lightly crisp outer breading and tender filling. We mostly tasted and saw the chicken and carrots inside, and all the other filling components were fairly soft and indistinguishable. My husband and I liked these, while our kids thought they were okay. They’re not spicy but simply have good chicken and vegetable flavor with some seasoning. We’ve had some excellent empanadas from a local Mexican restaurant during the past couple of years, and while these Trader Joe’s empanadas are not on the same level as what we’ve bought at restaurants, they’re pretty good on their own merits.
One empanada (110 grams) has 250 calories, 10 grams of total fat (13% DV), 2 grams of saturated fat (10% DV), 25 mg of cholesterol (8% DV), 560 mg of sodium (24% DV), 28 grams of total carbohydrates (10% DV), 2 grams of total sugars, and no added sugars.
Ingredients: filling (boneless chicken, chicken thigh, potato, carrot, green cabbage, chimichurri sauce [sunflower oil, red bell pepper, cilantro, red onion, parsley, olive oil, green onions, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt, black pepper, cane sugar], onion, red bell pepper, diced tomatoes in juice [tomatoes, tomato juice, sea salt, citric acid [to preserve], garlic, water, cumin, canola oil], paprika, thyme, oregano leaves, cumin seed), pastry (unbleached enriched wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, water, canola oil, salt).Didn’t have the same experience as Janet at all. These came out great in the air fryer and were pretty tasty. You can’t really taste chimichurri but why expect that flavor to be prominent? Chimichurri is something you have on the side with empanadas. I wish these were available at Costco.
Maybe the trick is using an air fryer, because these were terrible using a conventional stove. The taste was bland and there was hardly no chicken in my pastries. I cooked mine longer than recommended so they would be semi-crunchy (it worked), because the time suggested didn’t yield a “done” serving (to my liking). The only reason why I’m giving it one star is that the small amount of chicken in them were not dry. I’m usually a big fan of TJ’s frozen foods, but this one was disappointing.We had these the other day for apps with margaritas. I cooked them then cut them in half. We all found them very tasty! We dipped in orange sauce and/or crema.In sharp contrast to their wheat-based primos argentinos, Colombian empanadas use corn as a base for the dough. These tasty treats are usually fried, making them crispier. The filling here, whether it be beef, pork, or chicken is usually shredded. It’s usually hard to tell what’s inside of a Colombian empanada just by looking at it. They seriously all look the same. But no matter what the filling is, Colombian empanadas are actually just yummy sauce receptacles. And they usually come with ají picante, (hot sauce). Now that we’ve described the basic differences, it’s time for you to decide which you prefer. Gather your friends for an empanada tasting! Buy several empanadas with different fillings from each country. Have your guests bring along their favorite cervezas, and decide for yourself which country deserves the title of empanada king!If we had to describe the perfect Argentine empanadas in two words, we’d say flaky and savory. These gems have a wheat-based dough that’s usually baked to perfection. Some fry their empanadas, but the oven-baked method is much more common. Fillings can vary, but my standout are the picadillo-filled. Snazzy shops stamp the borders of their empanadas so consumers can easily identify what’s inside. Desgraciadamente, not everyone does this. I, personally, have a hard time telling what’s inside unless they’re stamped. Argentine empanadas are usually deliciously moist, so sauce is really optional here.But the other one was even worse. I mean, look at the edge! It’s not just underbaked, it squishes! You may get different results with an airfryer, but if you’re using an oven, I’d go the full 25 minutes, and possibly add up to another 5 minutes to the bake time. My bet is the ricotta filling is just too moist for this dough, so there may be no helping it. I had high hopes for Trader Joe’s Cheese Empanadas with Cassava Crust. I’ve had muffins and other things made with cassava flour and there were no weird textural issues at all. But, these did not go well at all for me.